Commuters Recognized with Food, T-shirts and Prizes

In an event to acknowledge an under-recognized faction of the student body, Commuter Affairs hosted a Commuter Appreciation Day in J.Lee’s, the student lounge on campus.

More than 2,000 students commute to Ramapo, and thus make up a decent portion of the College’s enrollment. Commuter Affairs, part of the Center for Student Involvement, seeks to socially and academically connect commuters to the campus community.

Commuter Appreciation Day is one of the several commuter events Ramapo has hosted this semester alone. However, Commuter Appreciation Day itself is a new thing at Ramapo.

“The event was held to make commuter students aware that there are programs available that are commuter student focused in which they can enjoy and benefit from. It also provided them with the exposure of J. Lee’s, which is recognized as the unofficial commuter lounge, an area where they can hang out and relax on campus when they are not attending class,” said Shakor Jukes, graduate assistant for Commuter Affaris, in an email.

More than 50 students, most of which were–naturally–commuters, came to the event where pizza, chicken wings, and beverages were served. Commuter Affairs also made free t-shirts available to the students who attended and hosted a raffle for commuter-related prizes.

Five students left the event with prizes: two with Ramapo College car stickers, and three with gas cards to Shell, Gulf, and BP. The student reaction to Commuter Appreciation Day was overwhelmingly positive, and few seats were to be found open at J.Lee’s.

“It was awesome! What’s better than free food?” said Robert Pathros, a sophomore commuter.

Jukes agreed that the event was a huge success.

“Considering it is 1 p.m., all the food and T-shirts are gone, and the event started at 12:30, yes it definitely was a success,” Jukes said.

Senate Vice President Vinny Guinta said events like this were a good way to get commuters involved, “especially during the day, and during common hour when commuters are on campus.”

Jared Merchan, a freshman commuter, said that Ramapo involves commuters “moderately but sufficiently.”

“I would definitely want to see more events on campus though,” he added.

Many commuters, however, seem to be happy with Ramapo’s job of involving students who live off-campus.

 “I think Ramapo does a good job of involving commuters. I’ve been happy with my commuter experience thus far,” said Melissa Ciandella, a junior  commuter.

Others, though, don’t hold the same views as Merchan and Ciandella.

“There are events on campus, but I have a lot of friends who are commuters who feel like they have no reason to go,” said Anthony Vigna, a sophomore who lives on campus. “They tell me that they aren’t really involved enough.”

Justin Barredo, a sophomore commuter, agreed.

“I feel in general, Ramapo should implement more events,” he explained. “A lot of the events held don’t interest enough commuters for them to actually stay on campus because many of us just want to head to class and drive back home.”

“I wish more events were held slightly earlier to accommodate the morning commuters as well,” Barredo added.

Jukes said that organizing more events like Commuter Appreciation Day would only help commuters become more involved on campus, something he hopes to improve.

With my job as adviser for commuter affairs, I am definitely going to work on that,” he said.

Ramapo also encourages students to get involved in the Commuter Caucus, an organization under SGA that serves as an advocating body on campus for commuters. The group meets the first Thursday of every month in the SGA office, located–conveniently–right outside J.Lee’s.

Coming up, Commuter Affairs will also be hosting a Zumba event today at 1 p.m. and a Commuter Finals Breakfast on Dec. 11 in J.Lee’s at 8:30 am. The organization is already making plans for events for next semester and hopes that future events for commuters will draw even bigger turnouts than those of the past.